Lent Week 1: Ash Wednesday

I suppose that by now I should know that any time I write about needing to be aware of my own need for God's grace, then 10 minutes later every emotional zombie I have will rise up out of the ground and start shambling around trying to eat me alive.

Monday night I was telling one of my besties about one particular zombie and she said "I wonder what would happen if you..." and she said something very wise about a healing step I should take, and I started to panic.  

And I said, "Well, clearly you're right, that would probably be the best thing to do, I'm panicking, goodnight, I love you," and I came home and cried for two hours.

Tuesday I was anxious all day, drank tea, listened to music, took a long nap, and felt marginally better.  Receive, receive, receive.  That was my mantra all day.

This morning, Elizabeth Gilbert's (she's the Eat, Pray, Love lady) Facebook status said this:

"For many years, I didn't own my shit because I didn't KNOW my shit. If you don't know your shit, people, then that shit will control you and make your life into Crazy Town. Until you own your shit, all you do is make excuses for the madness that is always surrounding you, while throwing blame around like confetti.

"By this point in my life, though, I know the worst of me. I know the triggers that make me into a temporarily insane person. I know my vulnerabilities and my pride. I know the stuff that makes me want to deceive, and the stuff that makes me vindictive, and the stuff that makes me insecure, and the stuff that makes me just flat-out mean and ugly. And I definitely know all my demons by their first names.

"This is what therapy does — helps you to learn your shit, inside and out. This is what meditation is for. This is what recovery is for. This is what reconciling the contradictions of your life is for. This is what radical honesty is for. This is what the courage of truthful introspection is for."

So that's a really good word for Ash Wednesday, because it goes right along with the liturgy:

"Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone."

Merciful God.  Thank you for your great, unending, incomprehensible mercy.

Your mercy gives me courage to own the shit that makes me insane, and strength to face down the demons that rise up and slap me senseless.

"Forgive us, we pray.  Free us for joyful obedience through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."

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